Healthier Communities through Pop-Up Markets

April 29, 2016

WCMS is proud to be collaborating with Buncombe County DHHS on Pop-Up Markets! WCMS Interpreter Network (WIN) will be working with Rasheeda McDaniels with Buncombe County DHHS to determine which Pop-Ups will best benefit from interpreter services. WIN is grateful for the opportunity to work on this innovative project.  As Ms. McDaniels describes it, the Pop-Up Markets are designed to do the following:

"To provide the best possible outcomes to residents of Buncombe County, Community Service Navigators are connected to safety net systems in every area of our community. The lay navigators connect individuals and families to support services that bring good choices within reach.

To have an even greater impact, the pop-up market program was developed in February, 2014 in partnership with Buncombe County HHS and MANNA food bank to connect deep into the community, providing support for our hardest to reach residents. The pop-up markets provide healthy foods, preventative health screenings, safety tips for individuals and families, community engagement, and a connection to local support services. Most importantly, the navigators and volunteers build strong, trusting relationships within their communities which can offset other sources of stress that can lead to a myriad of poor health and safety issues.  The program has reached over 500 families.

When a family doesn’t have enough food to eat, it is often connected to other challenges caused by conditions such as overwhelming stress, under-employment or health issues. The Pop-Up Markets are a great way to connect with individuals and neighborhood communities where we can address these needs at a local level bringing resources and better choices within reach.

Our navigators work closely with volunteers within these communities to get food and resources to people that we would never be able to reach and while doing so also help them to move toward greater health, safety and self-sufficiency.

These markets run bi-weekly in the community centers of local housing communities in Buncombe County. They rely on “just-in-time” food donations from MANNA FoodBank which often includes the healthy but perishable fruits, vegetables and bakery items that many local food pantries are not equipped to accept because they require immediate distribution. At each site, neighbors who qualify for SNAP, (formerly known as Food Stamps) come to “shop” for groceries in a colorful, farmers’ market style setting, choosing their food items while catching up with friends and neighbors.

Through this initiative, we have strengthened our community neighborhoods, brought fresh, nutritious food to individuals and families, and built collaborative partnerships with Mission, MANNA, ABCCM,  the SPARC Network, ABIPA and the Asheville Housing Authority.

Community Service Navigator Pop ups are more than food distribution sites.  The educational and health screening aspect of the pop ups (such as blood pressure and weight monitoring with partners from Mission Hospital and ABIPA) is key to bringing good choices within reach.  Relationships built through the navigators and neighborhood volunteers provide supports so that individuals can take small steps to improve their lives and their neighborhoods. 

During the pop-up times, CSN are able to talk with people about other basic un-met needs that they might and offer them a referral to Buncombe County HHS for something like Medicaid, immunizations, and family planning. 

With this program, we are seeing more and more people who, with a little help, are able to focus on safe and healthy choices for themselves and their families.

Model: Each pop-up event is used to make positive contact and build relationships with community members and new potential clients while providing nutritious foods, education, and services. This is often a community member’s first gateway to the CSN program and is a valuable way for CSNs to make a warm first impression.

  • The CSNs are responsible for organizing and advertising for the bi-weekly pop-ups.
  • Each CSN has at least 8 volunteers within their assigned neighborhood to help shop for the food at MANNA and bring food back to the specific site.  The food does not need to be stored or refrigerated because it is distributed immediately after receiving it from MANNA.
  • Individuals wanting to receive food are screened for eligibility per the MANNA requirements, sign in, and then choose their food in an enjoyable “fresh market” style. Eligibility screening forms and client sign-in sheets are kept on file and submitted to MANNA per their requirements.
  • Health services are offered, such as blood pressure and weight monitoring with partners from Mission Hospital and ABIPA.  For example, Dr. Rebecca Bernstein from Mission came out to the Pisgah View Apartment community in December, 2014 and did lipid panels and consultations.
  • During the pop-up times, referrals and education are also offered on a range of topics related to Buncombe County HHS, including Medicaid, immunizations, and family planning. 
  • CSN’s are environment conscious and provide recyclable totes for pop-ups with information supporting Buncombe County Health and Human Services."